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Song of the Week – Loch Lomond

Posted by on June 9, 2009

(c) 2009 Kevin Edward Rose. All rights reserved.

First of all, I must apologize for not posting last week. I normally record these songs late at night or early in the morning on one of my evenings off from work, but last week I had to fill in for a sick employee on my recording night.

Anyway, now on to Loch Lomond. This is a not-so traditional arrangement of a traditional song. It is one of the better-known folk songs from Scotland, but most people have no idea what the song is about. So, we will now begin today’s history lesson.

After the failed Jacobite Rebellion, which was the attempt of the people of Scotland to gain their independence from England by placing Charles Stuart (AKA Bonnie Prince Charlie) on the throne of Scotland, the victorious English army was faced with a dilemma; What should they do with their Scottish prisoners? If they let all of the prisoners go free, there was nothing to stop them from further rebellion. If they executed all of the prisoners, they would be seen as cruel and unjust, again giving the Scots another reason to rebel.

The solution was to let some of the prisoners go free, thus showing mercy, and to execute the others, thus giving an incentive against further rebellion.

The song, “Loch Lomond”, is a conversation between two prisoners. One would be set free and would go home by taking the high road, which was the “normal” way: i.e.; riding a horse, hopping a boat, etc. The other prisoner faced execution and would be taking the low road, which was the path of the spirit.

– Kevin

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